Saharawi Journalists'
& Writers' Union (UPES)
Saharawi refugee camps


Press release

01 November, 2006

A Saharawi journalist harassed and intimidated by Moroccan authorities

The Saharawi reporter and journalist, Mr. AbdEddaiem Mustafa (عبد الدايم مصطفى), reporter to Moroccan newspaper, ElAhdath ElMaghribiya, was lately victim of a real campaign of harassment, defamation, intimidation and threat against his physical integrity by the Moroccan authorities, because of his political position and activism in favour of the respect of the Saharawi people’s human and political rights, concordant Saharawi human rights sources reported to the Saharawi Journalists’ and Writers’ Union.

Mr. AbdEddaiem Mustafa, who is also famous as an active civil society actor in the Southern Moroccan city of “Zag” and who insists in his writing on unveiling human rights abuses perpetrated by the Moroccan State against the Saharawi population in that locality, was recently threatened by the local authorities and openly intimidated in an attempt to persuade him stop expressing his opinions and stop denouncing some Moroccan officials’ crimes and misdeeds.

The Saharawi journalist started a protest action since the 24th October 2006. Human rights sources reported he undertook a first 48 hunger strike in the popularly-named “Martyr Lehsen Tamek’s Square” in Zag, to protest against this Moroccan authorities’ irresponsible attitude.

He seized this occasion to express his complete support and solidarity with the Saharawi political prisoners and human rights activists held in Moroccan prisons. He also started daily sit-ins since the 24th in front of the Mayoralty of the small locality with the support of hundreds Saharawi civilians to protest against the intimidations he was victim to.

In front of this act of intimidation and violation of journalists’ rights to freely exercise their duty, and to freely express their opinions, the Saharawi Journalists’ and Writers’ Union, UPES:

-  Denounces Moroccan authorities attack against Mr. AbdEddaiem Mustafa’s freedom of expression and right to physical and psychological safety.

-  Expresses its open solidarity and support to this Saharawi journalist, paying tribute to his efforts aiming to inform the public opinion about the reality of a part of the situation in his community and in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara.

-  Condemns the Moroccan authorities’ campaign of defamation started against the Saharawi journalist aimed to distort the reality about the real reasons behind such violations.

-  Calls on the international community, the UN and also national and international organisations, especially Medias and human rights organisations, to break the media siege imposed on the occupied territories of Western Sahara and south of Morocco, where an important Saharawi population is suffering all kinds of human rights violations, including violations of their rights to free expression, opinion, decent work and other cultural, political, economical and social rights.

The UPES would like to recall all previous violations committed by the Moroccan authorities against the freedom of expression in the occupied territories, including violations committed against Saharawi human rights activist, international delegations, which were not allowed to enter the occupied territories of the Western Sahara and international journalists, who were either not allowed in the same territories or just expulsed and intimidated by Moroccan officials.

UPES estimates that such ill-treatment against independent journalists should not be tolerated by Medias or international organisations and should be countered by an international campaign against the Moroccan State.

UPES would also like to recall that the report published last September by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the situation in the Western Sahara, has clearly stated that:

“The question of the right to self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara is paramount to the consideration of the overall human rights situation in the respective territories (the occupied territories of the Western Sahara-Ed). It is a human right enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICESCR). The respect of all human rights of the people of Western Sahara must be seen in tandem with this right and a lack of its realization will inevitably impact on the enjoyment of all other rights guaranteed, inter alia, in the seven core international human rights treaties in force.”

UPES would thus ask the international community to consider putting pressures on Morocco to compel it respect Saharawi people’s right to self-determination and accept the organisation of a free, transparent and democratic referendum under the auspices of the UN as the unique way to end the last decolonisation issue in Africa, and to put an end to all other human rights violations committed by the Moroccan State against the Saharawi people, both in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara and in the refugee camps, since the Saharawi refugees were forced to exile on the first place because of the Moroccan invasion of their territory.

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